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Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in featured, infused | 0 comments

infused cocktails

infused cocktails

  I will never forgot my first herb-infused cocktail. It was a lovely white wine sangria at Chef Jose Garces’s Philadelphia restaurant Amada. Long before he became an Iron Chef, he was a very well respected Philadelphia icon. I didn’t know this at the time, however. All I knew as I walked by it while strolling through the Old City neighborhood was that this was a Spanish restaurant that I had to try. As I sipped the sangria, I wondered what was giving it such a uniquely refreshing quality. It was rosemary. That blew my mind. And it forever changed how I think about cocktails and new cocktail recipes. Seven years later, it now serves as the inspiration for this blog – and ultimately a book – about using aromatics to infuse cocktails in new and delicious ways. When talking about beverages, infusing just means that an aromatic – an herb, spice, fruit, tea, flower, etc. – is placed into a liquid and given time to impart its flavor. Heat speeds up the process, but is not always desirable or...

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Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in featured, shaken | 0 comments

shaken cocktails

shaken cocktails

  Using a cocktail shaker is much more than just a cool-looking way to mix a drink. It actually performs several important functions: Shaking with ice helps chill the mixture before pouring it into in a glass, so it’s ready to drink and doesn’t melt the ice in the glass as quickly. Shaking with ice also helps bruise or crush any herbs or other aromatics that you have added. This process helps release oils and other flavor-intense elements to produce a better-tasting cocktail. Most shakers have a built-in strainer in the lid that helps keep your drink neat by preventing the larger chunks of ice and ingredients from getting into the serving glass. Shaking also helps incorporate thicker liquids into the mixure more effectively, such as fruit juices, dairy products, egg, etc., producing a smoother cocktail. (Try my mai tai and see for yourself!) Because all of the recipes in this section use various aromatics that will benefit from this process, shaking will generally be preferable to stirring. (Stirring is thought to be a better...

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Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in featured, muddled | 0 comments

muddled cocktails

muddled cocktails

  My muddler and I have had a lot of good times together. It helps me get out some pent-up aggression and I get a tasty cocktail out of the deal. You might say it’s therapeutic. I bought my first muddler in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the House of Bacardi. I knew I would use it when I make my exxxtra-minty mojitos. I had no idea that I would use it as frequently as I do, and with many different kinds of herbs, fruits, and other aromatics. Muddling is the technique that inspired the name Crushed Cocktails. A muddler is a long, thin utensil, usually with teeth on one end. It looks kind of like it could be a kinky sex toy, but I wouldn’t recommend that – it’s used to bruise and crush various aromatics to help them release their flavors. Typically, the aromatic is muddled with sugar and a small quantity of liquid before other ingredients are added. How much or how little you muddle something depends on how much flavor you wish to impart to your cocktail,...

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